A Guide to the Best Château Pontet-Canet Vintages


chateau pontet-canet label

The best Château Pontet-Canet vintages age well and offer a superb combination of finesse and full-bodied force on the nose and the palate.

Some wines seem destined for greatness. Founded in Pauillac—one of the most prolific and praised Left Bank appellations of Bordeaux—by the Governor of the Médoc himself in the early 1700s, Château Pontet-Canet has produced some of the most poignant and intriguing Red Bordeaux blends to date.

Don’t let the fifth growth designation fool you, either; Château Pontet-Canet wines are living proof that the 1855 classifications aren’t everything, and these powerful, elegant wines are among the most sought-after in the region.

If you’re eager to add a few radiant red wines to a well-stocked cellar of Bordeaux, or if you’re interested in starting a new Pauillac or Bordeaux collection, save a place for a few bottles of Château Pontet-Canet’s best vintages. 

Château Pontet-Canet: A (Brief) Natural History

The story of Château Pontet-Canet begins, as many of the best stories do, in the Palace of Versailles. There, amid the glitter and glamor of 18th century high society, Jean-François de Pontet gained enough royal favor—and wealth—to later purchase the Pauillac and Canet appellation vineyards that we now refer to collectively as Château Pontet-Canet.

The vines that grow there—primarily Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot—average 45 years old and are rooted mainly in gravelly, free-draining earth on a bed of limestone. This soil provides all the necessary nutrients for healthy growth while preventing oversaturation.

The earth is agitated regularly to prevent compaction—not only by tractors, as one might expect, but also by draft horses. This technique allows for a gentler, more precise churning process that results in more mature grapes and more structured biodynamic wines with impressive aging potential. Harvesting dates are determined by personal reviews of each parcel, rather than technological calculations. The grapes are also handpicked and manually destemmed.

Château Pontet-Canet has been refining their growth practices with a biodynamic approach since 2004. They received Biodyvin biodynamic certification from Ecocert in 2010 and were certified to the Demeter standard in 2014.

Choosing the Best Château Pontet-Canet Vintages

Château Pontet-Canet’s best vintages, like dancers, are as revered for their power as for their grace. Balanced, tannic, and long-lived, these wines are like any good Bordeaux—best served when they have been given ample time and opportunity to mature.

Excellent Younger Vintages

These Château Pontet-Canet vintages are still relatively young, and are ideal for cellaring now and selling—or enjoying—at least five or ten years from now. The following vintages are arranged in order of highest to lowest rating on Wine Advocate.

Vintage Rating Drinking Window Notes
2010 100 pts 2022-2052 A rich, intense vintage with purity and structure built to last. Delivers notes of dark berries, dried flowers, and minerals on the nose, and black fruits, expresso, warm stone, and licorice on the palate.
2009 100 pts 2022-2056 Fresh flowers and spring-bright blueberries and blackberries greet the nose, while a spicy minerality mixed with dark berry flavors make up the heart and soul of this superbly balanced, wildly lush vintage boasting noble tannins and a surprisingly delicate finish.
2019 99 pts 2029-2050 One can almost imagine sipping this subtle, sophisticated vintage in an enchanting French cottage grown over with roses while a pie bakes in the oven. Aromatics combine dark chocolate, cherries, licorice, lilacs, and cassis, while flavors include blueberries and black fruits with a hint of smoke and spice.
2018 98 pts 2028-2050 On the nose: baked fruit pastries filled with plum preserves or blueberries, mixed with potpourri, chocolate, and a touch of smoked meat. On the palate: rich, decadent blackberries and black currants, brambles, and crushed violets—with just a touch of graphite. This vintage year yielded far less than usual due to mildew, but what precious little was produced was deemed superb.
2016 98 pts 2026-2049 A thrilling and decadent wine, this vintage offers complex aromatics and flavors that include creme de cassis, spiced desserts, rose hips, dark and red fruits as well as chocolate cake. It’s powerful, but skillfully harmonized, with a long mineral finish.
2015 97 pts 2024-2042 A firm, structured vintage with voluptuous black and red currant notes alongside dusty stone, crushed herbs, and lavender aromatics, this wine boasts both power and finesse.
2005 97 pts 2018-2040 A bold, almost aggressive wine with woodsy berry, cedar, and oak aromas, this poignant vintage combines currants and raspberries with cassis, licorice, vanilla, and graphite notes to deliver quite the memorable drinking experience.
2017 96 pts 2024-2041 There’s a hint of summer turned to autumn in this medium-bodied wine, thanks to its wild berry and floral scents mixed with a dash of cinnamon and smoke, and its plush fruit and spice flavors.
2008 96 pts 2018-2039 One whiff of a glass of this vintage delivers a delightful bouquet of dark fruit, rich soil, and potpourri; tasting reveals complex layers of red and blackberries, florals, and a persistent minerality.
2003 95 pts 2012-2029 This silky, tannic vintage is warm on the nose and the palate, with scents of baked berries, freshly roasted coffee, licorice, and chocolate, and a flavor profile that heavily favors dark berries, currants, and bilberries, with a long, hot finish.

High-Quality Older Vintages

These older Château Pontet-Canet vintages are also highly rated and are still expected to drink well—though they will exceed their ideal drinking age within the next few years.

Vintage Rating Drinking Window Notes
1994 93 pts 2006-2022 Rich, impactful, opulent, this vintage is bursting with berry and currant fruit flavors and earthy tobacco, oak, and leather aromatics.
1995 92 pts 2007-2023 Gloriously dark and seductive, this wine is full-bodied and fruit-forward, featuring the rich cassis and berry scents and flavors of many Château Pontet-Canet wines and an exceptionally persistent finish.
1996 89 pts 2010-2028 Blackberry or black currant jam spiced with sweet cedar and gravel on the nose, exploring the depths of flavor of this multilayered vintage reveal further fruits along with oak, licorice, and black olive.

Also worth noting are vintages from the years 1929, 1945, 1961, and 1999. These wines, while a bit beyond their ideal drinking windows at this point, received high marks at their peak—though they are much more difficult to obtain now than when they were new on the market.

Collecting and Investing in Château Pontet-Canet Wines

With a level of quality that can exceed even that of a typical first growth wine and an aging potential of up to 45 years, Château Pontet-Canet wines are excellent investments that increase in value over time. And, because they are biodynamic wines, additives aren’t a concern, and neither are sulfites—natural yeast has a tendency to age with particular grace.

Their typically high ratings make these wines supremely valuable, and buying them en primeur can help minimize the cost of investing and maximize resale profits. Purchasing by the case is also recommended for similar reasons—cases cost less per bottle than buying each individually, and complete cases often sell extremely well if kept in good condition. (It’s worth noting that buying by the case also makes it easier to keep track of these wines in a large cellar, whereas individual bottles are too easily split up from one another and can be accidentally misplaced.) Professional storage solutions, of course, offer the best option for the long-term care of these wines while they age to perfection.

Château Pontet-Canet wines are also ideal for pairing with a wide variety of foods, should you intend to indulge in a glass yourself. Like many reds, these wines go best with roasted or grilled meat dishes, including chicken, pork, veal, beef, lamb, or duck. Rich seafood and pasta dishes pair exquisitely as well.

For an accessible red blend that more than lives up to its Bordeaux designation, it’s hard to go wrong with any of Château Pontet-Canet’s best vintages.

Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine.

Author: Vinfolio Staff

At Vinfolio, we help our clients buy, sell, store, and manage their most
treasured bottles of wine. But in our spare time, we’re just a group of
passionate and slightly obsessed oenophiles–we love sharing a great
glass of vintage Champagne, followed by a Burgundy, and then a
Bordeaux, to get things started. We’re always obsessing over the latest (and oldest) vintages, and we want to share that knowledge and passion with our readers.